Travel & Yarn

I missed you guys!

I’m sorry that time has gotten away from me…again! Life…it seems…is too busy for me. Last year I spent time knitting and traveling…

A Few of my adventures…

As Director for the Clan MacRae Society of North America, our annual meeting was held in Denver Colorado last year…and my husband and I have never been to Colorado and thought this would be an excellent road trip…or air trip, then road trip….


Items on the Itinerary… attend the Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival, general meeting at the Stanley Hotel, find elk & moose, hiking in the Rockies, and find a local yarn shop (LYS)!!

During the highland games, we were one of the honored clans of the weekend…go Clan MacRae! Which meant we got to march/walk…in the parade! That was the first time I’ve ever been in a parade! Such fun!

The Rocky Mountains & Animals

Imagine….before sunrise, quietly walking through the park….waiting for the elk to appear…and you see one lone female…wading through the lake heading to meet the heard….hearing the calls of the elk and seeing them up close… all just before sunrise! It was the most amazing thing….and scary too – cause they are REALLY flippin big!



We spent a few early mornings trying to catch a glimpse of the moose in the area, but wherever they were…we weren’t….so bummed.  We did see a herd of sheep!!!  SHEEP!!


The hubs and I did some awesome trail hikes, took our packs, ate lunch along the trail and earned some hiking patches. At one point we were nearly caught in a thunderstorm while up in the mountains….this cross-fitter kicked up her pace and sprinted down the mountain side to get to low ground! I thoroughly enjoyed the glory of God’s great handy-work and am counting the days until we can come back again!


So…did you find yarn??

I am happy to report – that I did find yarn! The LYS had such a great selection of local fibers. At The Stitchin Den I chose three yarns based on a cowl pattern I found there…and I chose earthy colors to remind me of the mountains….


I chose the Vermont yarns by Tahki Stacy Charles Inc.  in colors bark, granite, and mica.  The pattern is the Quaking Aspen Cowl designed by Petra Marcelle.  You can find this pattern on Ravelry.

We met the most wonderful people and had the greatest adventure!

The mountains are AMAZING! and someday, we would like to call Colorado home!

Till then love,




Oh no! My head shrunk! No wait – its the hat…

My hat is too small….what do I do?

I recently had a friend approach me about a hat she received as a gift…She loves the hat but its too small to pull down over her head and she wondered if there was anything she could do to stretch it out.

My initial thoughts were..

  What style of hat is it?

  What is it made out of?

  Is it hand knit or store bought?

and…would she be heartbroken if my suggestions…ruined her hat.  (Eek! Lets hope that doesn’t happen!)

So I stared at her a bit (my thinking process) and explained that since I was unable to see the hat, touch it, pull on it, that I could only give her some tips to try.

My Suggestion…

  1.  Submerge the hat in cold water with a little baby shampoo or mild laundry detergent (just a squirt).
  2. Drain out the excess, without squeezing or rubbing (to avoid the fabric felting). Place it on top of a towel and roll up the hat inside the towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place the hat on your head working it down to where you want it to fit you. If the hat does not stretch to fit over your head when wet….then the chances of her hat stretching are slim…..  She asked what to do if she doesn’t want to put the wet hat on her head…(why? is it not fun waiting for a wet hat to dry on your head I asked her…with a sly grin…)
  4. If you have a balloon, you can make that the approximate size of your head and put the wet hat on that, or block it by stretching the hat and pinning it down to an ironing board. (see photo below)
  5. Wait for the hat to dry.
  6. Once the hat dries, it should maintain this shape.  Again, without knowing the fabric its made from, this is just a suggestion. Animal fibers vs. Synthetic fibers will differ.
Example of Blocking. Here is a yoga sock in process.
Example of Blocking. Here is a yoga sock in process.

She thanked me for my help and said she’d give it a try.


This of course got me thinking…

What other tips could I have given her if I knew what kind of hat we were working with?

What would you suggest to my friend?

Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

What’s next for PeacocksandPurls and my knitting?

I’m knitting and knitting and knitting!  I starting making toeless socks for yoga class.  They received such rave reviews, that I will be introducing them into my shop soon! So be on the look out if your interested!

Till Then Love…Facebook Cover

Wow! That got away from me…

I’m back!  Wow, October and November just got away from me…does that ever happen to you??


My trip to Scotland…the search for sheep and yarn…I did find yarn in the Highlands!  Along with many other things – wonderful friends & family, handcrafted pottery, homemade earthy breads, you cannot even imagine the smell and taste of this bread…and SHEEP!!!  I finally saw the stuff from photos – green landscapes with lots of sheep, everywhere!!  Even road signs warning you of sheep!  I loved every minute!

From Stopping in quaint towns to walk around, in and out of hand-crafted shops, the yarn, and a beautiful tea cup and saucer!  My mother and I bought the same tea cup from Uig Pottery.


The Highlands and the Isle of Skye were by far our favorite places we traveled…the Isle is so beautiful, green and lush…and did I mention the sheep?? The air was so crisp and clean…I miss it so so much!  We are already figuring our return trip.



I did find a local yarn shop recommended by a lovely artist, Jane MacKenna, we were enamored by her beautiful original artwork.  She is amazingly talented!  We got a few of her prints…buying some is highly recommended.  Also, in addition to painting…she is a knitter!!!  BE STILL MY HEART I found a fellow knitter in Scotland!  She was knitting as we browsed her artwork and I asked where she gets her yarn and if it was local…YES!!  The shop is the Handspinner Having Fun in Broadford on the Isle of Skye…heading there for sure!


We went to the Handspinner and I fell in love with her shop.  I bought as much as I thought my suitcase could carry – bye bye socks and underwear – don’t need you hogging my suitcase space – hello yarn!

The travel day home was long and tiresome…I wish Scotland wasn’t so far away…it is good to be home, but I really miss it there…cannot wait to return.

Till Then Love…

Facebook Cover

The Search for Scottish Wool….continues!

Day 2 in Scotland! 

I can not believe that we are in such a beautiful place!  Thank you to my husband for bringing me here!

The views were amazing
The views were amazing

Today we met with Clan MacRae and learned about our ancestors and the MacRae’s in Edinburgh…. We met a lot of wonderful new friends!

My mom and I walking through the graveyards....
My mom and I walking through the graveyards….
Jimi the Piper on Arthurs Seat
Jimi the Piper on Arthurs Seat
Hiking up Arthurs Seat - Whew! that was straight up!!!
Hiking up Arthurs Seat – Whew! that was straight up!!!
MacCrae's Place in Edinburgh near Usher Hall
McCrae’s Place in Edinburgh near Usher Hall

Scotland 221 updated

Edinburgh wool here! LOL!
Edinburgh Castle…no wool here! LOL!
Macraes of Edinburgh store! I did find some hand knits - but no skeins of wool....
Macraes of Edinburgh store! I did find some hand knits – but no skeins of wool….


We did some more walking around Edinburgh…we got a lot of souvenirs and the hunt for wool continued…I did not have any success finding it or anything knitted related…bummer…but we head to the highlands tomorrow and maybe, just maybe…I’ll find a few sheep and shear them myself!  LOL!!

Till then Love…

Is there Wool in Scotland?

Well…I’m back to sunny, warm weather…who takes a vacation where it rains every day and the sun occasionally makes an appearance?  I DO!!  I’m back from our vacation in Scotland!!  Yes, you read me right…SCOTLAND!

It was the trip of a lifetime!  We have been planning it for several years and finally the day came!

Why would you want to go to Scotland?

We decided to go to Scotland because my family has Scottish roots on my mother’s side.  I am also a commissioner for Clan MacRae Society of North America – I help promote and spread our family history at local Scottish Games…and in doing so, I found out that the MacRae Society in Scotland was hosting a global gathering of all MacRae’s to meet in Scotland and learn about our MacRae family history.  We knew we wanted to go…so we started to save up right away.  My husband and I also invited my mother along since it’s her family history as well…this would make her first airplane ride – EVER!  Mom was nervous but really wanted to go….and I must say…she did amazing on the plane!  She actually had a really good time and enjoyed flying!

The trip I planned was to spend some days with the MacRae Gathering and some days on our own.  There were tour groups from each society in the US, Canada, Scotland, and Australia.  We met on specific days with the tours and met some really lovely new friends…some I had already been talking with through Facebook and couldn’t wait to finally meet them!

Knitting in Scotland

I found out that you can take knitting needles on the flight!  I chose not to risk having my needles confiscated by airport security…heaven forbid they take my new bamboo cable needle!! EEK! But one of my goals was to find yarn produced by local farms in Scotland.  When I asked several people about where to find yarn…I kept getting a confused look…one of the lovely ladies that I met at the gathering is also a knitter…she clued me in that they refer to yarn as “wool” there, even if it’s not made with wool!  So once she set me straight…the search is on!  I had hoped to get so much wool…that I would be forced to leave some of my traveling clothes behind to make room for all the wool in my luggage!!!

Day One

Well, that was an incredibly long plane ride and I’m happy to be finally here and able to stand up!! Time to pick up our rental car and begin the scary drive into Edinburgh to find our B&B.  I’m so sorry that I made my poor husband do all the driving…but for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians, it is probably best…even my mother said not to let me drive!!  What does that tell you!  Driving on the left, sitting on the right, shifting with your left hand, street signs I do not understand, street names I cannot find signs for (oh, they were on the sides of buildings vs. our street sign poles), round-a-bouts – oh the round-a-bouts…can I close my eyes now??!! My husband successfully navigated and safely got us to our B&B!  Once settled in, we head out, on foot, into Edinburgh!

Day 1 Scotland 2 Collage

Yarn…wool…where are you??

I am searching each shop we go into for some local wool…no luck…  We have seen some beautiful old buildings today, AMAZING views, and cask ale!  I love cask ale!!  (my voice is getting louder and higher pitched as I say how much I loved cask ale!)  Whisky and Haggis!!!  Score!  My legs are a little sore from walking around because nothing is flat here, which makes for great training for my upcoming 10k when I return home.

Scotland 121
Having my first cask ale! Loving it!
Scotland 116
Street signs on the sides of buildings


Scotland 079
Edinburgh Castle! AMAZING!

Scotland 018    Scotland 025

At Edinburgh Castle
At Edinburgh Castle
Scotland 082
Walking through the gardens

Scotland 158

Have you ever been to Scotland? What did you enjoy most?  Let me know in the comments below!

Stay tuned for the next segments of our continued adventures in Scotland!

Till then love…

Rainy Days of Reflection

Time to Reflect on the day…

Its a Sunday afternoon…and its raining…what to do? what to do?? Snuggle up with my Jack Russell Terrier, dive into a large pile of library books, and a cup of tea, of course!!

Monty and Me

What is it about library books? The feel of the paper…the plastic book cover..the smell? All of them I think for me.  I do have e-books, but mostly just of cookbooks…that way I have paid less since I really only like some of the recipes…what about you?

And what am I reading you ask? Well…books on running your first 10k, clean eating cookbooks (Against All Grain) and obviously – knitting books!!! This one is a pattern book – love ~ love ~ love pattern books!

What is on my knitting needles?

I have had several questions about what I’m currently knitting for my shop PeacocksandPurls…  I am currently working on baby booties and baby hats.  I have had several requests for gifts to give at baby showers…I have also begun working on baby blankets….but with working full-time outside of my shop, it is a slow process…I am a slow knitter – slow runner….a turtle…

Upcoming Races…

My next race is a 10k in August – Rise and Shine 10k Road Race.  It will be my first official 10k (6.2 miles), though I have run that distance many times before.  I just began my training last week, and have had a set back already – dang knee is bothering me – I think I twisted it funny when gardening or playing with the dog somehow….I think I will just dial back the mileage early on and rest it a bit – see how it goes. This is a new race put on by our running club…check it out – it should be a lot of fun! Come and sign up!

Well…waiting for the deck to dry – the rain has cleared – and the sun is out!! I’ll be heading outside with my mat for some restorative yoga practice…

Till then love…

Hello World!

Why am I writing a blog??

Well… When I was a kid, I used to write a letter to my great grandmother regularly.  I told her what I had been up to, what I was reading, and overall ‘how’s life’.  I really looked forward to getting a letter back from her beautiful handwriting…that nobody really does anymore.

When she passed away, and after I grew up and moved out of state…I continued the “tradition” if you will, and started writing to my grandmother (great grandma’s daughter).  She and Grandpa always wrote back – in that very familiar handwriting.  She talked about her flower gardens, the weather, the family that lived nearby.  My grandmother and grandfather passed away last year, within a month of each other – true love – since then, I’ve been missing them – and the letter writing.  I saved the last birthday card from her – handwritten note inside – in my calendar to remind me every birthday of her.

I miss the writing – the journaling – of our lives between us, so I decided that I can still write in the form of this blog before you.  I think blogging will help get all the things in my mind down and out there….for who?  Myself mostly, my mother and sister – and you silly!

Stay tuned for more “letters” from me…

Till then love…

(as my great grandmother would sign off)